Wow! Stunning pictures. Amazing sighting.
Birds can be pretty vicious it seems, especially when armed with long legs, powerful muscles with which to kick and sharp claws at the end of their toes.
Helmeted Guineafowl, fairly ubiquitous across Southern Africa, are certainly no exception, and although many people would be familiar with their 5am cackling, their aggressive side will generally go unseen.
Just outside camp we happened upon a pair involved in quite a scuffle. We presume they were both males, as females generally don’t get involved in intra-flock aggression. A hierarchical contest was most likely what was happening here.
We’ll let the photos take you through what happened (different editing techniques were used so there will be some inconsistency between the look of the photos)…
There was no clear winner after 10 minutes. Things simply simmered down, although that’s not to say it was a draw. It did look as though one male had taken more of a hammering, but the contest certainly didn’t seem to be as violent as it could have been. Male birds have been known to literally peck each other to death in territorial conflicts, but in this fight, I think one of the males must have realised pretty quickly he was outmatched, and eventually just submitted with good grace…